A critical element to the baffling mystery of autoimmune diseases has recently been revealed. Across the board, all autoimmune patients are deficient in one crucial molecule: glutathione! The elderly and those who suffer from cancer and other medical conditions often have a similar deficiency.

What’s the root of this powerful antioxidant which plays such an integral role in managing our health?

Glutathione is a molecular combination of three simple proteins and amino acids: cysteine, glycine, and glutamine. It contains sulfur (SH) chemical groups which soak up all the toxins and free radicals in our bodies and flush them out through our bile and stool. Glutathione also recycles other antioxidants in the body. In this way, glutathione plays a critical role in helping our immune systems fight infections and serious diseases, such as cancer. Research also proves that the more glutathione we have in our system, the better our brains and physical bodies function. Glutathione increases muscle growth while decreasing muscle damage, boosts the metabolism, and reduces recovery time from injury.

Our bodies produce glutathione naturally. If everything is working normally, we recycle the molecules on a regular basis. But in this day and age, we are bombarded with toxins and oxidative stresses, which can deplete us of glutathione. Especially in auto immune sufferers like people who have fibromyalgia. What’s more, over a third of the global population is missing GSTM1, one of the genes that play a crucial role in the production and recycling of glutathione.

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 Got Glutathione?

How do you know if you ae deficient in glutathione? You can get lab tests done that can tack glutathione levels, but that’s not really necessary.

“It’s more about symptomology and how people feel,” explains Michelle Corey, an Autoimmune Recovery Expert, Medical Advocate, and Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. “If you notice your immune system is weak, your metabolism is slowing, and your body is slow to recover, you may be suffering from a glutathione deficiency. And if you have an active autoimmune disease, then it’s pretty safe to assume.”

Okay, well now that we know what the problem is, all we have to do is bulk up on glutathione, right? Unfortunately, instilling glutathione into our bodies isn’t as easy as popping a capsule or taking a tincture. There are glutathione supplements you can take, but research has not yet proven whether or not it can be absorbed by the cells. Michelle, who is also the author of the excellent book Thyroid Cure, only recommends intravenous glutathione to her clients when they have dire levels of glutathione deficiency.

So what we have to do is give our bodies the right nutrition and supplements so that they will be able to naturally produce and recycle sufficient amounts of glutathione. Michelle recommends to make a list of all the toxic things in your life, such as alcohol or a toxic environment, and get rid of them. The next step is to, “eat healthy food, which means you get the proper amount of vegetables and healthy protein.” She stresses the importance of healing the GI with the help of a practitioner, since every medical condition and every person is unique. She believes the key is to figure out what’s going on in a particular individual’s life that contributes to loss of glutathione. “It’s different for everyone.”

It can also be helpful to take herbal supplements for liver support, such as milk thistle. “It’s all about the liver,” Michelle advises. “Anywhere you go, if you talk to the medicine men and women of the indigenous people, they know about the connection with the liver where glutathione is made.”

Although there’s been a lot of buzz about how so many people lack the GSTM1 gene, Michelle advises that we not worry about that aspect. She herself was missing the gene, but she managed to get back to optimal glutathione levels by taking out the toxins in her life and living a balanced, healthy lifestyle. According to Michelle, “Nothing is wrong with our genes; everything is wrong with our environment.”

Living a healthy lifestyle with lots of exercise is also a good way to boost glutathione levels. “Our genes have not had time to catch up to our lifestyle,” Michelle explains. In the matter of a few short decades, our lifestyles became much more sedentary and our diets shifted dramatically. By incorporating a more traditionally physical and healthy lifestyle, we can boost our glutathione and experience more optimal health.

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Linda Miriam Aziz-Zadeh is a freelance writer and editor who is passionate about preserving the natural beauty and wonder of our bodies, this planet, and the world.

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